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Hadifly became a therapy horse at the New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding shortly after meeting a patient in a wheelchair. Photo courtesy Ashley Armijo

An OTTB finds his ‘calling’ helping people in need

The once excitable Thoroughbred gently lowered his head to accept the embrace of a legally blind man, who reached up from his wheelchair to share in the strength that stood before him. As if understanding how the man yearned to be close, the ex-racehorse reached over and sniffed the rubber and metal contraption. “And then instantly a softness came into his eye,” says Ashley Armijo, who had never seen her feisty Thoroughbred Hadifly react so gently to anyone. Witnessing the tender moment on the grounds of the New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding two years ago, Armijo realized her novice-level Eventing prospect […]

Valerie Ashker and her boyfriend Peter Friedman set out Monday on a 3,500 trek across the USA.

OTTBs set off on 3,500-mile trek across USA

And they’re off! Sixty-year-old equestrian Valerie Ashker set off Monday morning for a 3,500-mile ride on her off-track Thoroughbred; raising awareness about OTTB’s from California to Maryland. After doing interviews with major media outlets and making final preparations, Ashker and her boyfriend Peter Friedman saddled up and departed from her property, Crow’s Ear Farm, in the foothills of Sierra, California, covering 13 miles in the first day. Speaking from horseback, with the sound of hoof beats echoing in the background, Ashker sounded optimistic as she and her 7-year-old OTTB Primitivo embarked on the second day of what is expected to […]

Kaylee, 8. and OTTB Jo Jo's Gypsy participated in their first show two years after the mare was found abandoned and near death in Kentucky.

Abandoned KY OTTB shows at Horse Park

Two years after first laying her hands on the skeletal frame of a mare with slim odds, a young girl who stood by the abandoned Thoroughbred when so many hadn’t, squared her shoulders this past weekend and marched into the Kentucky Horse Park leading the thrown-away Thoroughbred; winners before they even entered. Jo Jo’s Gypsy, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred broodmare abandoned with 44 horses on the Bourbon County line in Kentucky, strode happily at the side of eight-year-old caretaker and friend, Kaylee. (Please see earlier story: In an inspiring demonstration of the heart of the Thoroughbred, the pair performed at the […]